Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Deputy Billy Daniels On Western Wednesday...!

Often we forget that some of the lesser known men and women of the old west did a good job of trying to uphold the law. Even though most never became famous, that didn't deter them from doing their jobs and serving the citizens of their community.

It seems that Billy Daniels was that kind of person. Getting the job done was the most important thing on his mind and he was tenacious about it! Here's the story about Mr. Billy Daniels.

Arizona Deputy Sheriff Billy Daniels is killed

Two years after Arizona Deputy Sheriff William Daniels apprehended three of the five outlaws responsible for the Bisbee Massacre, Apache Indians kill him.

Billy Daniels was typical of the thousands of courageous young men and women who helped tame the Wild West but whose names and stories have since been largely forgotten. For every Wild Bill Hickok or Wyatt Earp immortalized by the dramatic exaggerations of dime novelists and sensationalistic journalists, the West had dozens of men like Billy Daniels, who quietly did their duty with little fanfare, celebration, or thanks.

On December 8, 1883, five desperadoes rode into the booming mining town of Bisbee, Arizona. Their leader, Daniel "Big Dan" Dowd, had heard that the $7,000 payroll of the Copper Queen Mine would be in the vault at the Bisbee General Store. The outlaws barged into the store with their guns drawn and demanded the payroll. To Big Dan's disappointment, they discovered they were too early--the payroll had not yet arrived. The outlaws quickly gathered up what money there was (reports vary between $900 to $3,000)), and took valuable rings and watches from the unlucky customers.

For reasons that are unclear, the robbery then turned into a slaughter. When the five desperadoes rode away, they left behind four dead or dying people, including Deputy Sheriff Tom Smith and a Bisbee woman named Anna Roberts.

The people of Arizona were shocked by the senseless brutality of the killings. The newspapers called it the "Bisbee Massacre." The sheriff quickly organized citizen posses to track down the killers, placing Deputy Sheriff Billy Daniels at the head of one. The posses, though, soon ran out of clues and the trail grew cold. Most of the citizen members gave up. Daniels, however, stubbornly continued the pursuit alone. He eventually learned the identities of the five men from area ranchers and began to track them down one by one.

Daniels found one of the killers in Deming, New Mexico, and arrested him. He then learned from a Mexican informant that the gang leader, Big Dan Dowd, had fled south of the border to a hideout at Sabinal, Chihuahua. Disguising himself as an ore buyer, Daniels tricked Dowd into a meeting and took him prisoner. A few weeks later, Daniels returned to Mexico and arrested another of the outlaws. Other law officers apprehended the remaining two members of the gang. A Tombstone, Arizona, jury quickly convicted all five men and sentenced them to be hanged simultaneously. As the noose was fitted around his neck on the five-man gallows, Big Dan reportedly muttered, "This is a regular killing machine."

The next year, Daniels ran for sheriff but lost. He found a new position as an inspector of customs that required him to travel all around the vast and often isolated Arizona countryside, where various bands of hostile Apache Indians were a serious danger. Early on the morning of this day in 1885, Daniels and two companions were riding up a narrow canyon trail in the Mule Mountains east of Bisbee. Daniels, who was in the lead, rode into an Apache ambush. The first bullets killed his horse, and the animal collapsed, pinning Daniels to the ground. Trapped, Daniels used his rifle to defend himself as best he could, but the Apache quickly overwhelmed him and cut his throat.

His two companions escaped with their lives and returned the next day with a posse. They found Daniel's badly mutilated corpse but were unable to track the Apache Indians who murdered him.

It appears that even back then, there were a few men and women that were willing to stand and do the right thing while not expecting any reward. I believe the right word is "character!"

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Want some cherry pie with that?


Mamahen said...

Makes me wonder how many other brave men had similar stories that was never recorded.... Cherry pie sounds wonderful ...I'm on my way :))

Chickenmom said...

Had to look that one up, Mr. Hermit - he was only 43 years old. Running late (again) save me a slice of that cherry pie!

linda m said...

We have so few "men of character" these days. Would love a piece of cherry pie. Save my spot on the swing for me.

Rob said...

I'll bet there are still a lot of people who just do their job, do it quietly & well. With no publicity it's just another day.

That someone found out about Billy Daniels & we heard about it is unusual.

JO said...

Good post. They say Tombstone was tough but Bisbee wasn't and easy place either. Lots of interesting stories about these western towns.

Cherry pie sounds wonderful I'll bring some fresh ground coffee to the table.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Like that deputy, most brave men don't seek public attention or any claim to fame. Most are just forgotten.

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
There were probably more than we'll ever know!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Phyllis...
I reckon that his area wasn't known for people living a long time, especially in his line of work!

Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Linda M...
It would be nice if more of today's leaders were following his dedication.

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Rob...
We could almost write a book about some of these unsung heroes. Might make for some interesting reading!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Jo...
Many of the towns around your area have some interesting history, I'll bet!

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping in today!

Hey Dizzy...
I think your right about that. Somethings just don't need to be proven, I reckon!

Thanks for the visit today!